India adopts new child growth standards
New Delhi : India has adopted the new WHO Child Growth Standards, the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Health and Family Welfare, announced here on February 09.
The announcement follows the consensus arrived at a national consultation in which all leading professional bodies and institutions, State and central governments participated.
The new Growth Standards will be used across the country for monitoring and promotion of young child growth and development within the National Rural Health Mission NRHM and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). Same standards will be used for research too in future.
“We consider these new standards to represent the highest quality knowledge available today on how children should grow and develop and we fully endorse their use” said Mr Cecilio Adorna, the Unicef representative to India.
‘The standards”, he said, “confirm that child populations from across the world have the same potential for growth and development provided they receive the care, nutrition, and health services they require and are entitled too. It is exciting to know that child populations from the researched six countries from Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas grow identically, and to know how exclusively breastfed healthy children develop. “
“With these new standards, parents, policy makers, programmers, health officials and child advocates, Mr Adorna hoped “will know when the nutrition and healthcare needs of children are being compromised and with the use of this tool are enabled to take well informed decisions. “
The Roll Out Plan for use of the New Growth Standards will be formulated through a consultative process led by the Health and Social Welfare of departments of various state governments and , would be included in the plan components in the 11th Five Year Plan document.
The State roll out plans will cover all aspects of implementing the new growth standards. Including supplies – growth registers, charts, standard weighing scales, Mother Child Protection cards, and capacity building at all levels.
The training on the growth charts will be an integral component of ICDS and NRHM Training. The new growth standards be incorporated in all institutional trainings – induction and in-service that involve medical colleges, nursing, auxiliary nurses and anganwadis training schools and all relevant courses conducted by the public sector, private and semi-private institutions.
Over two hundred participants attended the national consultation. The participants included policy makers, senior officials from the Ministries of Women & Child Development, Health & Family Welfare, Planning Commission, State Secretaries and their teams from both Women & Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, representatives of national academic research and training institutions related to Health, Nutrition and Child Development